It’s that time of year. Hunting season is over. Winter has its full grasp on us with the cold winds and short days. You wake up, it’s dark and by the time you are home from work, it is more of the same. With outdoor activities limited during this time of year, what are you to do? Here is a list of things that I do to occupy my time during that downtime of late January, February, and early March.
Wash your hunting clothes
Throughout the season I keep my hunting clothes clean as needed. I rarely wash the outer layer, but frequently wash my base layers. At the end of the season I give them all one good scent free wash, hang them to dry, spray with a scent killer, and then store in a plastic container with a fresh earth scent. I repeat this process at the beginning of the hunting season as well after being stored for months.
Clean your hunting gear:
Clothes get all the attention when it comes to cleaning. Don’t forget your backpack, gloves, face mask, and gaiters. Anything that is cloth should be washed. When was the last time you cleaned your calls? Our mouths are a haven for bacteria that leaves their marks on grunt and turkey calls. I use a water and alcohol mixture to clean any mouth call I use. Make sure you dry and store them properly after cleaning.
Clean your guns:
It is no secret you should be cleaning your guns after each time you shoot. With proper care, a gun is a multi-generation investment and can look brand new many years later. However, we get busy, something comes up or we planned on shooting again and it just didn’t happen. If I cleaned my guns after I shot earlier in the year, I use this time to run a patch through all of them and wipe them down with some oil. This way I know at least once a year, each gun is cared for. This is a good time to wax your bowstring as well.
Check your tree stands:
Everything has a lifespan, including tree stands. I am particularly careful with my hang on tree stands. I look at the straps for damage and replace them as necessary. I also use a lubricant on any joint to prevent rust and noise. I do the same with the cables. Many companies make a scent-free tree stand lubricant. I have heard of people using vegetable oil or wax for scent-free options. Gun oil, bar chain oil or used motor oil work as well, although not a scent-free option.
This is a great way to get out of the house and a great way to help the local deer population (sort of). Locally in SW Pennsylvania, coyotes are everywhere. They are not just a rural animal. They are making their way into the suburbs and even the city of Pittsburgh. If you venture out to coyote hunt, that hunting itch can be scratched 24/7.
Once shed hunting “season” approaches, I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I could write dozens of articles about shed hunting, its techniques, and benefits. In the simplest way, I use shed hunting to get some fresh air, scout new and old areas, and start getting in shape for turkey season.
What have I missed? What do you do to stave off cabin fever?
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